November 21, 2008
November 21, 2008 - U.S. Sens. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.) again moved this week to protect American livestock by stopping the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plan to allow importation of livestock from foot-and-mouth disease-(FMD) prone Argentina.
In their letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, the Senators highlighted recent comments by John Clifford, DVM, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) deputy administrator, in which he discussed his intention to stop the proposal from moving forward until there is a review conducted of the 2005 risk assessment.
"The country of Argentina had an outbreak of FMD as late as 2006, and our first priority must be to protect the U.S. supply. Clifford's comments were reassuring, but it is my hope that the secretary is on the same page and believes more research needs to be done. I will continue to fight for our American farmers and ranchers and work to stop USDA's flawed plan to allow importation of Argentine fresh beef and livestock," Johnson said.
"There is no reason to put our herds at risk while Argentina continues to work toward eradicating FMD from within its borders. Sound scientific standards and monitoring must be in place before we make a decision to open trade to an area with a disease as potentially devastating to our livestock as FMD," said Enzi.
Earlier this year, Johnson and Enzi, with the support of the American Sheep Industry Association, introduced legislation to prevent the importation of livestock from Argentina until the USDA can certify that Argentina is free of FMD. The Foot and Mouth Disease Prevention Act of 2008 was crafted after hearing from concerned farmers and ranchers about the safety of their livestock.